5 Financial Moves All New Teachers Should Make

As a new teacher, you’re embarking on an exciting and rewarding career. But it’s no secret that the road ahead can be financially challenging. To help you navigate the world of personal finance and set yourself up for success, here are five financial moves all new teachers should make.

1. Create a Budget

The first step in taking control of your finances is creating a budget. Start by tracking your monthly expenses and compare them to your income. It’s crucial to know where your money is going and identify areas where you can save or cut back. Establish clear financial goals and routinely assess your progress.

2. Build an Emergency Fund

Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can derail even the best planning. That’s why it’s essential for new teachers to establish an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This safety net acts as a buffer against unforeseen circumstances such as job loss, medical emergencies or major home repairs.

3. Pay Off Student Loans

Many new teachers graduate with student debt that can hinder their financial growth. Prioritize paying off your student loans by focusing on high-interest debts first while still making minimum payments on other loans. Look into forgiveness programs for educators, such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Teacher Loan Forgiveness, which may help reduce some or all of your loan balances.

4. Save for Retirement

It’s never too early to start saving for retirement – especially when retirement benefits vary widely among school districts and states. Take advantage of pension plans or employer-sponsored 403(b) plans that education institutions typically offer, to maximize matching contributions, if available. Also consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), which provides additional tax advantages for retirement savings.

5. Invest in Professional Development

Investing in your own professional growth not only enhances your teaching skills but also increases your earning potential. Explore opportunities for professional development, such as degrees or certifications, conferences, and workshops that align with your career goals. Keep in mind that some institutions may offer financial assistance for professional development or reimburse you for expenses related to furthering your education.

By committing to these five financial moves early on in your teaching career, you’ll be laying the groundwork for a bright and stable financial future. Remember, it’s never too late to take control of your finances and make smarter decisions on your journey as an educator.